The number of cohabiting couple families in the UK increased by 65 per cent between 1996 and 2006 and the number of married couple families fell by 4 per cent, according to a report published this week by a team of researchers from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), LSE and Warwick University.
The report, Focus on Families 2007, was carried out for the ONS by Professor Mike Murphy, professor of demography at LSE, who looked at the relationship between family living arrangement and health; Linda Pickard, research fellow at LSE, who who looked at unpaid care and the family; Hannah McConnell, Ben Wilson and Steve Smallwood, ONS; and Richard Lampard, Warwick University.
The researchers found that the total number of families in the UK reached 17.1 million in 2006, compared with 16.5 million in 1996. However the number of families headed by a married couple fell by half a million between 1996 and 2006, to just over 12 million. At the same time both lone-mother and cohabiting couple families increased so that they now total 2.3 million each.
Key findings include:
In 2001 half of cohabiting couple families were headed by a person under 35
Lone mother families tend to be younger than lone father families by approximately ten years.
One in three lone mothers in the UK were aged under 35, whereas less than one in ten lone fathers were under 35
Younger generations are more likely to cohabit
Stepfamilies containing dependent children are even more likely to be cohabiting couple families
17 year olds are most likely to be in education if in married couple non-stepfamilies
Those with no qualifications marry early but appear least likely to marry
Partnership continues to be the healthiest state - there are health benefits associated with partnership, especially marriage, but there are variations by sex. In particular, older single women have better health than married women on many indicators of health status
The majority of unpaid care is family care, especially when provided for long hours. Around 1.2 million working age adults in Britain provide intense unpaid care for a spouse, parent or others for 20 hours a week or more, either inside or outside the household
Adults who are married are approximately twice as likely to provide intense care for an ill, disabled or elderly relative or friend as those who are cohabiting
London has the highest proportion of lone parents
London and Northern Ireland had the lowest proportions of stepfamilies and Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest proportion of stepfamilies
The largest families are in Northern Ireland
For a full copy of the report and press release visit http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=14049
Professor Mike Murphy by emailing: email@example.com
Linda Pickard by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Smallwood, Office of National Statistics Press Office on 01329 813539 or by emailing email@example.com
Esther Avery, LSE Press Office on 020 7955 7060 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Times (15 October)
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Mothers are often grief-stricken when their children leave home. But when they get used to it, they find that their lives improve considerably. In the UK, the median age at which boys leave home for the first time is 22; for girls it is 20, according to research conducted by Mike Murphy, a professor of demography at LSE. Professor Murphy analysed data from the British Household Panel Study, which polled 2,272 mothers in 1991 about the ages at which all of their children had left home.
Daily Mail (5 October)
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Times (5 October)
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Guardian (5 October)
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Times of India
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